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Rapid Response Network Launched in Response to ICE Raids

Arrests of immigrants without criminal records increased by more than 200 percent in Colorado and Wyoming during the first 100 days of the Trump Administration. (Getty Images)
Arrests of immigrants without criminal records increased by more than 200 percent in Colorado and Wyoming during the first 100 days of the Trump Administration. (Getty Images)
June 16, 2017

DENVER – A rapid-response network to assist immigrants facing deportation was officially launched in Denver yesterday.

More than 100 people have volunteered to manage a 24-hour hotline to track raids by Immigration and Customs Enforcement or ICE, and document any abuses.

Nicole Melaku, the executive director of the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition says she hopes the project will help alleviate some of the fear and uncertainty experienced by many immigrants under the Trump administration.

"This is a moment in our nation's history where we feel strongly that it's going to take all of us to help protect the families in our community - who live and work amongst us, who worship amongst us - to be able to really take a stand," she explains.

During President Donald Trump's first 100 days in office, arrests of immigrants without criminal records increased by 200 percent in Colorado and Wyoming. ICE officials say they will continue to prioritize people deemed to be a threat to national security, but also will target all undocumented immigrants who have received deportation orders from an immigration judge.

Melaku says the Colorado Rapid Response Network will alert communities with information in advance of raids, and volunteers are trained to document ICE activities on-site as they occur.

"If in fact, an individual is taken away and detained, many folks will be able to quickly mobilize those necessary resources to set bonds, get released from detention, and be reunited with their family," she says.

She adds the all-hands-on-deck effort is necessary to ensure that constitutional protections are upheld for all Coloradans.

"We know that many times, folks may not have access to their constitutional rights during this process," notes Melaku. "And what we're trying to do, through this hotline, is to really begin to identify patterns."

The project is backed by more than ten immigrant rights, faith, labor and social justice groups that have dedicated staff and volunteers. The toll-free hotline number is 844-864-8341, or 844-UNITE-41.

Eric Galatas, Public News Service - CO